Tea with Nell

This film is a love story and a portrait of old age.

After a life dedicated to raising a family and caring for her husband, Nell is spending her last years alone, with memories for company. Tea with Nell highlights the journey that many women face in their lifetime — from wife to mother to widow.

We first visit Nell at 89, living alone for the first time after the death of her husband, Charles. We watch Nell go about her day. Over cups of tea, she tells stories of a life lived with the man she loved through a dramatic century. Woven throughout are archival film clips and audio recordings, photographs that span their lives together, and Charles’ piano playing.

When we return three years later, Nell has accepted that she can no longer care for herself alone. We accompany her as she packs up her home in Brighton and moves to a rest home in Hampshire to join her sister‑in‑law, Beryl.

On our final visit, Nell is 96. We encounter a woman who is living one day at a time. She is stoic and not afraid of death, and she still has much to say.

In this film, a portrait of a contemporary British woman emerges. Born in 1910, Nell’s unflinching zest for life has helped her to evolve with the changing times. She is neither prim, proper nor reserved. Her ironic humour, her frankness and her intimate revelations provide an energetic and life‑affirming model of old age.

“Every time I look in the mirror I am shocked to see an old woman looking back at me. I feel that there is a young woman inside clamouring to get out.”

“Your legs get tired. They’ve been carrying you around for years, and your eyes get old, but what’s important is what’s in your mind. Act like you feel inside — don’t act old. Old lady? Nonsense, not me! I’m up for anything — anything within reason.” Nell laughs.

“And as long as you’re still here, don’t give up.”


90 minutes
filmed in England
featuring Nell Morley

  • directors: Sara Morley & Suzanne Turgeon
  • producer: Sara Morley
  • director of photography: Salvatore V Barrera
  • editor: Suzanne Turgeon
  • music: Charles Morley

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Thanks to the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

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